Thursday, 18 February 2016

Singapore Democratic Party - The Enemy Within

Defence Spending … Focus on Value not Absolute Dollar

Once again, the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) has raised the issue of Singapore’s defence spending. This is the same SDP that called for the merger of the Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of Health during the 2015 General Elections.

The SDP is quoted as saying that a “strong military is not the same as excessive and unsustainable defence spending.” We wonder on what basis the SDP is claiming that our defence spending is excessive and unsustainable?

Our question is where was the SDP when the Singapore Armed Forces’ Special Operations Force (SOF) saved the lives of Singaporeans during the SQ117 high jacking or the evacuation of Singaporeans from Phnom Penh. Or more recently, when the SAF deployed to forces to ensure that the instability in Timor Leste did not filter down to affect Singapore, Or the Navy’s daily protection of our sea line of communications from piracy to ensure that our ports remain one of the busiest in the world.

The strange thing about defence spending is that it is a Black Swan. When the SAF is effective in preventing and defeating threats, no one knows and says that defence spending is a waste of money. However, if the Black Swan event occurs, people will curse that the SAF (and the G) had failed to protect Singaporeans. This is similar to the recent arrest of the 27 Bangladeshi in Singapore. If the Government had chosen to remain silent on the matter few Singaporeans would have known. This is the same with the military. There is much that goes on behind the scene that keeps Singapore safe which cannot be revealed.

So, in response to the SDP’s call to cut defence spending, we say focus on the value and not the absolute dollar. There is much hidden value which you know nothing of. And judging from your calls to merge the Defence and Health Ministries, it is clear that you know nothing at all.

Monday, 15 February 2016

A teacher rebuts Chee Soon Juan

A Teacher, Germain Heng, rebuts Chee Soon Juan ....


Hi Soon Juan

I am going to take some time to highlight to you some of the observations that you and the SDP have pointed out in your article, MOE Written Textbooks Are Even More Biased And Partisan Towards The PAP (…/dear_ministers_moe_tex…/2016-02-15-6099).

I have vested interest in this as I am a Social Studies Teacher. These are purely my views that do not represent my fellow colleagues. I will respond to those portions pertaining to the Social Studies text. I cannot comment on the history portions as that is not my training. I will draw reference from the said Social Studies textbook (ISBN 978-981420884-0). Please also note that a new textbook and curriculum is currently being taught to the 2016 batch of Secondary 3 students.

Example 2: Photos and illustrations

You have pointed out a series of pictures which you have claimed to be slanted towards the PAP, most notably found on pages 26 and 147 of the Social Studies textbook.
In the former, the context of the picture is with regards to the need of government leaders to mingle with the community in order to learn of their concerns, and not so much as to point the student towards voting for the PAP.

The latter, found in the chapter Bonding Singapore, was used as an exemplar of how a GRC team has to be made up of a member of the minority race, in this case Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, in order to contest in an election so as to ensure minority representation in the legislature.

Example 3: Principles of governance

The picture, found on page 33, is a summary of what PM Lee Hsien Loong said in the National Day Rally Speech in 2004. I hardly will call reporting what he said as skewed, although it might have been watered down in order for our students, aged 15-16/17, to digest. Even you cannot deny the fact that it was your leadership that has allowed you to take the reigns of the SDP back in December 1996.

As with you highlighting Ministers and MPs like Phey Yew Kok, Tan Kia Gan, Wee Toon Boon, Teh Cheang Wan, Choo Wee Kiang, and Michael Palmer, their transgressions have been covered extensively in the papers, both the Straits Times and other platforms. I highly doubt if there are any restrictions on the students’ own reading.

Example 4: Representative democracy

Again, you have conveniently left out the context of the section, which is, I quote: 2.1 What is the system of government in Singapore? (page 26). Your argumentation and interpretation of what makes up ‘Representative Democracy’ is not the focus of the chapter, but the system that Singapore has adopted.

Example 5: The Pledge

This is found in page 134, also in the chapter Bonding Singapore. I doubt I have to elaborate any further.

Example 6: Healthcare

I hardly see this (page 72) as a rallying cry to support the PAP government. Rather, it is important for students to understand why government policies (or suggested policies), PAP or otherwise, needs support or else their legitimacy is lost. You of all people should know since your own alternative healthcare policies obviously did not get much support, as evidenced by the vote-share that you garnered.

Example 7: Foreign talent/low birthrate

You have missed the point of the quote (page 52). It was written to explain a way to boost population numbers. Even you cannot dispel the fact that no one country has monopoly over talents. Even the US has attracted talent from Singapore to work in their industries. I am disappointed that you did not point that out, given your extensive network.

Example 8: Media

You have pointed to the lack of discussion on the importance for dialogue and debate without resorting to violence. You might want to read a chapter earlier (Chapter 4: Conflict in Multi-ethnic Societies), where explicit effort was made to show how violence begot even more violence in both Sri Lanka and Northern Ireland, and how both countries suffered because of it.

And with regards to your often quoted gripe about the free press in Singapore, if there weren’t, shouldn’t be in existence, together with many of the alternative news sites which claim to be neutral. We must remember that freedom comes with responsibilities, and this must apply to speech and claims made. You should know, since you seem to have a knack for misquoting statistics. Again, I don’t have to belabour this point.

Example 9: Self-help groups

The quote on the above, found in Chapter 5: Bonding Singapore, is presented in the context of the need for such groups to exist. The purpose of the text is to provide content for the basis of the Structured Essay Question. Critical analysis of the source is covered in the Source Based Questions, which allows students to analyse assertions made by political leaders and its reliability.

Your selective quote did not include the following paragraph (page 148), which goes on to explain how the different SHGs bring individuals of different racial backgrounds together, as is the lesson objective of this chapter.

Example 10: People's Association

Again, the content of this (page 149) is in the context of the aforementioned Chapter 5, which has nothing to do with politics.

Soon Juan, please do not politicise a subject that I truly love teaching. Social Studies is a subject meant to help young people develop the ability to make informed and reasoned decisions for the public good as citizens of a culturally diverse, democratic society in an interdependent world ( It DOES NOT serve as a political tool for students to make an electoral choice, PAP, SDP or otherwise.

I would strongly suggest you study the Social Studies curriculum in its entirety, and not make accusations against the textbook that I teach from out of context. The subject gives more than sufficient flexibility for teachers to deviate from the text, to train the mind of an active Singapore, and global, citizen. My fellow professional colleagues will attest to the rigour and commitment that we put in to sharpen the minds of our nation’s future. My own students can attest to the skills that I have imparted to them to be as critical of what is presented to them, as your source has allowed me to do.

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Can only men be Advisers to Football Clubs?

Today (10 February 2016), Geylang International Football Club (GIFC) announced that Member of Parliament for MacPherson SMC, Ms Tin Pei Ling, had accepted their invitation to be their Club Adviser. At the Press Conference held at SAFRA Tampines, GIFC explained that as Club Adviser, Ms Tin’s role would be solely to assist the Club in their efforts to reach out to the community including providing guidance in areas like corporate social responsibility and grassroots football programmes, as well as fund-raising activities.
Trolls were however quick to flame the FC and Ms Tin asking what she knew about football and that her role as Club Adviser would destroy the FC. In classic States Times Review style, Alex Tan distorted the facts by claiming that “the "adviser" appointment is the first of its kind in Singapore and is believed to be created to shore up MP Tin Pei Ling's lack of popularity.”
As usual, anti-G trolls did not stop to think.
tin pei ling adviser to geylang international fc

The role of “Club Adviser” has been in place since the S-League started and has been filled by persons whom the Management Committee (MC) felt would best complement the Vision of the FC. These Club Advisers are therefore brought on to fill technical gaps in the MC or for their connections to help further the FC’s Vision. Most, in fact all, of the former and current Advisers are males and we would not be surprised if they also did not know much about football.
Thus, to people like Alex Tan who do not bother to find out the truth and merely flamed GIFC and Ms Tin purely on the basis of her gender, we say shame on you. You are displaying as much prejudice as being a racist. Not all women know football. Likewise not all men know football too.
Given Ms Tin’s experience in her community, we believe that Geylang International FC has made a wise choice.

Friday, 5 February 2016

WP Misses Court Deadline to Appoint Accountant

The Workers' Party (WP) of Singapore is once again up to their old tricks. Since failing in their appeal in the High Court, the WP was given until yesterday (5 February 2016) to appoint one of the Big 4 accounting firm as their independent auditor.

WP contempt of court

When the deadline came, instead of appointing an auditor, the WP has filed a motion to request for an extension of time. To be honest, this was not unexpected as the WP desperately tries to prevent Singaporeans from knowing the truth about the Town Council financial accounts. By all estimates, money has mostly likely been misappropriated.

We seriously hope the Court will act to find the WP in contempt of their orders. This game of delay has gone on for long enough and Singaporeans have been patient. But enough is enough and we want to know the truth.